"It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones." - Psalm 127:2 (NLT)
So over the past couple of weeks, it has been really hectic and crazy. Last weekend was Manhood Camp at Biola. That came on the tail end of a week of VBS which included a youth Beach day. Prior to that, there was a youth pool party, Open gym of Volleyball right after a week of Summer camp.In the middle of all of this I am trying to work through meetings, making time for family and taking a sick day.
Kick in the pants. In the middle of all of this, I found out that I have maxed out my accumulation of vaction days. How did that happen? It's because I failed to actually TAKE A BREAK.
Why am I such a workaholic?
Both of my parents are hard working and really focused. But THEY MADE TIME FOR FAMILY VACATIONS. I remember some amazing trips to San Diego, Washington, up the West Coast, and a number of other places. I know that my dad took my mom to a number of trips with just the two of them. So that's Not the reason.
1. Workaholic Leaders I work for.
I think a part of it can be attributed to a Senior Pastor I had who told me that I really needed to work a minimum of 80 hours. He felt that paid staff needed to hit things harder because, church leaders asked people to serve and give and sacrifice above and beyond their own time at work.
2. Workaholic Peers
I think there's also a part where I see alot of my friends doing a ton and a LOT is being acomplished. I like hanging around people who do things. I love learning from people who are making a difference. In the midst of this, I not only like learning from them and connecting with them, I also like being a part of what is going on.
3. The Comparison Trap
Sometimes as I watch God doing things in other places, I want a portion of that as well. I think about Elisha and how he asked God for a double portion of what Elijah had. Often I feel I'd just be happy with just a fraction of what I see God doing. I feel like that puppy that keeps begging for attention and after a while, tends to be a little annoying.
4.Forgetting the Role of the Holy Spirit
In our society, there is a lot of talk about ownership and personal responsibility. As an American, we also hear much about the importance of a strong work ethic to get where you want to go. (Having Asian roots might compound that some.) I think that there are times where I get caught up in that and I forget 1 Corinthians 3:7 "So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth."
I look back and I think about other places I have worked and served. I look back at the places I was released from ministry or I had to let others go. I think I can also get caught up in the fear of being let go, or that others might think I'm not doing enough, or letting down people. For better or worse, the last three times I turned off my phone, 2 people died and one went to the ER.
6. I'm not paying attention to God
As we look back to that verse we started with, God is really REALLY clear. The NLT says it is USELESS. Other translations says that it's VAIN. Too much craziness leads to stress and anxiety.But God calls not only for a good work ethic, He also calls for TRUST in HIM as well as REST.
There's a lot I want to do and acomplish. But I don't want to burn out. I havent gone hiking or camping or kyaking for a while. I don't remember the last time I read a book, just because. (I'm not counting netflix binging.) When was the last time I went to bed early and just slept in?
Rest and refilling is super important. Somewhere I heard the phrase, 'You can't Pour out of an Empty cup." Praise God that He sets up options to be filled and refilled. Over the next couple of months, my plan is to take some days off, go to bed early, arrive to work a little later in the day and just do some fun things, just for myself and just for my family.
Regardless if you are an adult leader who is trying to balance family work and ministry, or you are a student leader trying to balance school, sports, family and friends, what gets in the way of your rest? What do you do to rest and refresh?
Copyright 2015 Jackson Fong